Obesity

Menu Board of Health

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The New York City Council may force the city's Board of Health to revise its requirement that restaurants prominently display calorie counts alongside food listings in menus and on menu boards. The rule, which the board imposed together with its more notorious trans fat ban, applies only to restaurants with standardized dishes for which calorie counts are available, mainly big chains that already offer the information in some form. (Hence it might actually discourage restaurants that don't yet provide nutritional information from doing so.) Restaurant owners complain that satisfying the menu requirement will be costly and impractical in some cases—e.g., Starbucks' 84,000 drink options and Taco Bell's 25 burrito variations. Councilman Joel Rivera (D-Bronx) has introduced a bill that would let restaurants put the nutritional information in brochures or on posters. This is pretty much what they do now (along with publishing the information online), although The New York Times says Rivera's bill would require "that calorie information be more readily available," whatever that means.

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  1. I really can’t say that I see the benefits of listing calories alongside foods on the menu. Does anybody really believe that, upon going to McDonald’s to buy a Big Mac, some fat bastard will change his mind due to the high calorie content? Give me a fucking break…

    It’s not like people don’t know that deep fried chicken and chili cheese fries are unhealthy.

  2. Not that I like it at all, but it might help people deside which among the unhealthy foods is the least unhealthy. (“A big mac has 10,000 calories, while the Arch Delux only has 5,000!”)

  3. This would be really confusing at places like Baja Fresh or Chipotle.

  4. Imagine the calorie count on a typical 20oz. Burritoville burrito. Dios mio!

  5. “The New York Times says Rivera’s bill would require “that calorie information be more readily available,” whatever that means.”

    What about all that advertising space in Times Square?

  6. Jeebus. This is where I can see a real need for something like the Free State Project. We need someplace to hold up as an example of how civilization can function once the Nanny Staters get through infantilizing society.

  7. What if we just require that restaurants label their caloric count in chemical rather than nutritional calories (cal rather than kcal). Then all of the numbers would be HUGE and that would SCARE PEOPLE into not eating! Mr. Bloomberg, I’ll be expecting your call.

  8. But there’s a real problem in letting nefarious restaurant owners get away with printing up the information in brochure form.

    The owners would order 1,000 brochures, give five of them out to the helath agencies mandating the publication and another 15 to the consumer groups demanding them, then stack the remaining 980 in an approved rack on the counter.

    Six months later 979 brochures would still be there, illustrating massive public disinterest in the information.

  9. 1200 calories for a Big Mac and Super Sized fries!?! Shit, make that a diet coke, erm, Super Size too please.

  10. “Restaurant owners complain that satisfying the menu requirement will be costly and impractical in some cases-e.g., Starbucks’ 84,000 drink options”
    🙂
    For example, the options shown from 33sec-45 sec of this (NSFW)

  11. VM,

    I have no idea what the point of that was.

  12. These stories always remind me of the diet drink story where a woman demanded a diet drink even thought there wasn’t any on tap, which pretty much boils down to some selfish spoiled brat who has reached chronological adulthood and is trying to impose his way on everybody else.

    The market already does just fine on this very topic. Places that serve ‘healthy’ food advertise it without being forced to. Subway used to tout the low fat content of some of their sandwiches. They still have Jarred in their commercials.

    Same with those stupid gas mileage numbers on cars, mandated by the government, that were never right to begin with. The cars that get high mileage are advertised that why by the manufacturers. The vehicles I like are advertised by high displacement and horsepower.

  13. This Council is so out of control, it’s ridiculous. We demanded term limits, and wound up with a scarier bunch of motherfuckers than ever. Most of them have “activist” backgrounds, and managed to rally their “activist” buddies to put them into office, over the widespread apathy of the rest of the population. It’s all fun and games when they waste their time on silly shit that has no hope of coming to pass (e.g. pedestrian headphone bans) but now they’re moving on to meatier legislation with real job-killing potential. It’ll be fun watching all the national chains (the obvious intended target) put up their calorie numbers while the local mom-and-pop restaurants all go out of business because they didn’t submit their dishes to the Calorie Commission in a timely manner.

  14. This Council is so out of control, it’s ridiculous. We demanded term limits, and wound up with a scarier bunch of motherfuckers than ever.

    You had term limits before. They are otherwise called elections.

  15. I think it should be pretty clear by now that elections are not equivalent to term limits.

  16. Jake Boone,

    Term limits are the nanny equivelant of voting the bums out.

    If you people are not willing to do it then don’t complain about who you elected.

  17. It would take just a few minutes to look up the energy contents of standard dishes in a reference book, write them on a piece of cardboard, and tape it to the wall. Nobody’s ever going to check whether the exact energy count at that restaurant matches the figures anyway.

  18. Oh, Rivera. Same guy who proposed using zoning laws to limit the number of fast food restaurants in any one neighborhood. He has basically never had a real job, having been elected at the age of something 22 while he was still a college undergrad (his father was the previous councilman, in case you’re wondering how he could have gotten elected) and now he just gets paid to come up with stupid ideas. Yeah, this is a healthy democracy.

  19. “Nobody’s ever going to check whether the exact energy count at that restaurant matches the figures anyway.”

    ehhhhhh, you’d be surprised how fucktarded some folks are.

  20. In keeping with what dhex wrote, I know somebody who drove to a store to get a $0.05 refund after the price of an extension cord dropped. (They had a policy that if you buy something that goes on sale shortly after you could get a refund for the difference between the purchase and sale price.)

    And no, this person wasn’t doing any other errands in the neighborhood at the time. She drove there for the sole purpose of getting that nickel.

  21. You had term limits before. They are otherwise called elections.

    I used to believe that. And I can still see it when it comes to city-wide races like mayor. Unfortunately, I don’t have any say over the selection of the 50 numbskulls outside my district.

  22. “And I can still see it when it comes to city-wide races like mayor.”

    Hi Rhywun!

    Check out our election here in Chicago today 🙂

    Dr. T: indeed!

  23. Check out our election here in Chicago today 🙂

    Fortunately, the mayor of Chicago has zero influence on my life, unlike the 50 councilmen I don’t vote for who nevertheless gang together and vote as one in support of their pet activist causes.

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